Why is “the Mass” so big for Catholics?
It is a hard question to answer because it’s like someone asking why the heart is important to the body. It is the source of our life. It’s the place where we encounter Jesus Christ completely and it is where we are transformed. I want to highlight a few items of particular importance for me.
It’s the food that transforms me. A fellow parishioner always shares that she has to have two donuts to keep her hips balanced! The donuts become part of her; she does not become a donut. Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ is meant to change us. We consume Christ; we become Christ.
Christ calls us to the Eucharist. We are not creating something nice or even meaningful on our own. We receive and we participate in what we were given. Jesus shared this in the Gospels and already St. Paul speaks of passing on what he has received in his letters.
“Mass is boring!” Often times, high school students will make this statement. My response, “It is supposed to be.” While I am not completely serious, the source of boredom comes from the perception that we are doing the same thing over and over again. The reason why Mass is supposed to be consistent or “boring” is because everyone has an important part to play in the Mass. Have you ever played, Marco Polo? If you say, “Marco” and the other person does not know they are supposed to say “Polo,” the game doesn’t happen. The consistency of the Mass is supposed to encourage your active, full, and conscious participation.
It is a Heavenly Liturgy. While it is a bit mind-blowing, we are called to recognize we are participating with the Angels and the Saints in heaven as they sing God’s praises. The Mass reminds us that our lives transcend the bounds of this earth. Do we not have this experience in our daily lives? One of your fellow parishioners has spoken to me about the loss of his wife several years ago. While he continues to feel the loss of her, he “senses” that she is with him every morning. Our Catholic faith constantly reminds us that our world is much larger than we can see.
Let us help one another participate in Mass and discover why the Mass is so big for us.
Sincerely in Christ,